The Louvre Becomes the Sanctuary of Great Gods // Kyla Friel 

She stood underneath the Winged Victory of Samothrace and marvelled at it as it towered above her, the imposing figure of its sleek marble instilling within her some sort of Godly fear like they talk about in the first testament, the chipped stone wings that seemed to possess blade sharp feathers doing nothing to raze that image; you see, the figure gave her the strangest sense of being exposed though it was not alive enough to judge her; still, the ethereal quality of its elongated torso and thick legs was not so god-like that she felt it removed her from its gaze, but rather, that she was more vulnerable to its ancient scrutiny and she suddenly felt as naked as the Nike herself, as if it were she who lacked arms and a head and looked quite grim, though upon reflecting under alabaster marble, she realized it was she who had not been crafted by the hands of masters.

 

***

Kyla is 20 years old and a student at OCAD U. She likes old things, dead languages, and Scotland – and can never make up her mind.

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Let Them Eat Latke // Nicholas Freer

The worst of it was through. I had walked two of the three blocks it takes to get to this tight little deli on Bloor and was already out of breath. It’s this Yiddish place – you’re allowed to call a place Yiddish, right? They pile the corned beef high between these two thick things of Rye. Never enough mustard though. I had rounded the corner onto Bloor when I saw this couple sitting and I thought: homeless. It’s only the homeless you ever see sitting downtown. She was crying, nothing too dramatic, but the tears were there. He was speaking. It wasn’t English. Probably Cantonese. Or Korean or Japanese. They all sound the same to me. His tone wasn’t soft, but it wasn’t angry either. She was rocking slightly and sniffling. I would have stuck around to watch, if it weren’t for my stomach.

I left, but I couldn’t get this homeless couple out of my head. I figured I’d catch the end of the conversation. I wouldn’t be a bother. I wouldn’t butt in or ask for the English translation. They wouldn’t even know I was there. I told Benny, the cook, to bag everything. Moments later I was rounding that corner again with a paper bag that was slightly soggy. I sat in the bus shelter opposite theirs, had a latke, and listened in.

The strangest thing happened. The woman stood. She wasn’t crying but speaking, yelling, at the man, who looked up at her in some sort of awe. His eyes, confident when I first passed, were fearful. This was something he had never seen. He tried to speak. She raised  her voice and kept on going. I was into the Rye. (I would notice, on the ride home, a large mustard stain on my crotch, a memento I guess.) The man stood up. The woman was at a crescendo. He opened his mouth and raised his finger.

A bus pulled into the stop.

Three old women with wire baskets on wheels got off. Slowly. So slowly. They had just been shopping and their carts bulged. I shouted at them to get a move on and they did. Must’ve thought I was crazy, waving around half-eaten food at them. When I sat back down I knocked over my coleslaw. It was a shame but nothing to cry over. The bus pulled away. The man was sitting again, neither of the two were speaking. After a moment he put his face in his hands and began to cry. No, not cry, he began to wail. His body shook. His nose ran. His eyes – when he looked up – were spewing. I felt something then. Pity, maybe, or indigestion. He cried like a child lost in the mall. She didn’t sit but squatted in front of him. She brought her hand to his face and wiped a few tears away with her thumb. He tried to smile. New blubbers started. It was disgusting.

The woman looked around for the first time. People on the street had stopped. Everyone was looking. We made eye contact and I almost dropped my lunch. It wasn’t that they looked alike. There was something in her eyes. And for the first time in nearly a decade I thought of her. Her face was red, she took her hand away, and stood up. She brushed her coat off where it had skirted the ground, picked up her purse from beside the man, and walked away. He tried to grab at her but she only shook him off. He made no sound, tears rolled down his cheeks – and she was gone. I had finished most of my lunch. All but the last latke. I got up and crossed the street. “Take it” I said. He looked up at me. Rather, through me. He took the food though. I think he tried to say something, but I had about all I could bear. I patted his shoulder and walked away too.

 

***

Nicholas Freer is a writer in his third year at the University of Toronto. He writes short stories, articles, and essays.

Finally, the roses are crowing // Linnea Rose

The hole in my chest

has nearly healed.

I decided to fill it

with glass

instead of sewing it

shut,

so I kept a piece each time

I shattered

to see how many it would take

to put me back together.

When I looked through it last

the roses crowed

and the grass was chirping;

the birds needed trimming

and the rabbits had to be weeded.

A new sun shone through me

and I learned

light still shines

through glass that is

shattered.

I said good morning for the first time.

***

Linnea Rose currently lives downtown, attending the University of Toronto. She
likes her wine chilled, coffee black, breasts braless, and poetry
dripping with nature imagery.

White American Business Majors // Marina Klimenko

The thunder blended into the fireworks. It was dark and the street was empty. Even the homeless guy on University and St. Andrew was hiding out in the TD Bank, carefully spreading his stuff out under the machines.

It was around one when I got on the subway. I moved my head around trying to make it feel lighter. Across the aisle from me, on the two seats facing forward, sat Natalie.

She was alone. I thought I should get up and move down the train but my head felt too heavy. I was looking at her when she turned. She recognized me and called out. I got up and sat down on the blue seat next to her. She didn’t say anything for a while. I didn’t either. It was late and a long weekend. Her head, I imagine, was as heavy as mine.

“You still go all the way?” she asked, “To Finch I mean.”

I said I did. She smiled and turned back to the window. She had cut her hair. Otherwise, she looked the same as she had in school. The train went above ground and then under again.

“Darling,” she said, still watching the window.

That was new. The last thing she called me was “hey you”.

She turned towards me.

“Do you think I’m prejudiced?”

I didn’t know what to say to that.

“If a guy tells me he goes to a college, any college, I lose interest. Is that wrong?”

“I think–”

“Then there’s the race thing. Always white American business majors. Have you noticed?”

I said I hadn’t.

“Well, it’s true. Except for at Rachel’s parties. Then there were at least three black boys and a Sikh. That’s not right is it?”

“I don’t think it’s wrong Nat. You just have a type.”

“Yes. A type.”

She looked up at the train ceiling as if for confirmation from above.

“Have you ever been with a woman Lawrence?”

“Yes Natalie,” I said, “I’m what they call ‘a heterosexual’.”

“How nice. And you’re American?”

“Well, I’m–”

“I’ll cry if you are.”

“Please don’t,” I said, “I am American though.”

“And you like women?”

“Yes.”

“How awful.”

I asked why and she looked at me like she used to when we sat together during tests.

“If you’re a white American business major who likes women and you don’t like me…”

“I’m very fond of you Nat. Besides, I’m not a business major. It’s chemistry.”

“Huh.”

The train had stopped at a station but no one got in. The doors were closing. I suddenly wanted to run out of them and onto the platform, up the stairs, and into the rain. The train moved off.

“Have you noticed? I started saying ‘darling’.”

I told her I had. Our stop was next. I wanted to say something, but I wasn’t sure what.

“You know in French ‘my darling’ is ‘ma biche’,” I said.

We used to take French together. The train had stopped but the doors hadn’t opened yet.

“Sounds dirty.”

The doors slid open. We got out and onto the platform. I asked if she needed a ride. She said no, Mark was picking her up.

“He’s white and American,” she said, “maybe you know him. He drives a Volvo.”

I walked up to the pickup area with her. It had stopped raining and the air was cool. I could still hear fireworks. She leaned in and kissed the top of my lip.

“Good night.”

Then she walked through the waiting area and into a Volvo.

What did I do? I walked back downstairs and into the train. The conductor was in the window.

“Lucky you made it on. This one’s it for tonight.”

I told him I felt lucky.

I didn’t live at the stop she got off at anymore. I moved right after high school. I’d have to tell her sometime. Maybe tomorrow. I could call her. I could call her and tell her. I could tell her where my new place was. Tomorrow.

 

***

Marina Klimenko is a third year English and History major at the University of Toronto. Her hobbies include kayaking, watching Woody Allen movies and telling people what to read.

The Letters look out at the Teddybear Picnic // Ezra Fleisch

It is upon a silk thread that I weave my words

Row upon row that I sling aimlessly across

Bridges to nowhere

Bridges going knowwhere?

 

An arc of memories burns crisp through an expert’s eyes

Shriveling up “creativity” with the greatest of ease.

The frayed letters drift away, freed from the amateur bounds

of one so young, one so unknowing.

 

Do you know where the letters live?

Do you?

Have you seen how they swim wild and free, leaping fragments  without restriction

Can our eyes, amateur to paragon, comprehend the abundance

Of the lack of need for a meaning

The lack of need for an answer

The lack of a rhythmic heartbeat.

 

So let the bridges burn, and let the words be free

Let the tapestries of ordered thinking be torn down,

And make us face the bare wall.

Make us face the unordered, uncharacterized madness that we try to unmadden.

 

And then the paragon will weep

And the amateur will weep

And all will fall to ruin

 

But the river will flow on

And the amateur’s eyes will drink the water; drink in its hard cold surface…

 

He will be maddened, and learn to love the wall.

He will build bridges for the cracks

And weave silk thread once again.

 

*** 

Ezra Rust Fleisch is a writer and poet born in South Africa who is currently attending the University of Toronto. He enjoys writing in all forms (especially text language) and has a connoisseur’s taste in memes.

Heavenly Garden // Piradeep Ravindran

Lake of purity and divinity

Hopes and dreams in the air

The tree of sanctuary rests

Humming – a familiar tune

 

Behind closed eyes

The shadows of my past

Are nowhere to be seen

Beneath the pure water

The darkness emerges

Changing everything in its path

Humming the same – familiar tune

 

What felt like hours

Were years passing by

The tree swayed back and forth from the wind

Painting vividly in the night blue sky

 

Sitting down by the tree, I close my eyes

The shadow dissolves in the thin brisk air

As the water returns to its original state

I thank nature for this heavenly garden

 

***

Piradeep Ravindran is a 20 year old studying graphic design. His hobbies include playing video games, writing poetry, and doing photography on the side. He hopes to become a game designer one day while continuing his passion for poetry.